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Monday, December 24, 2012

The Temple Grandin Movie Review

I know that my next two entries are supposed to be about Oral and Tactile Sensory Solutions. Trust me, we'll get there. But I need a break from the tedious searching, researching and linking for a day. I'm very tired. Tomorrow is yet another legal holiday, and Dovi is not old enough to attend the local Holiday Respite program (which starts at age 5). His Home Health Aide is off for 2 days, as is my cleaning lady -- and to top it all off, my sister-in-law is getting married on Wednesday night! What a hectic week. I'm pretty sure someone will take him out for 2 hours to give me a break; thankfully I've done enough inner work on myself not to get hysterical when a combination of factors such as these come together. I've endured far more stressful situations as Dovi's mother. I'm just throwing it out there.

So anyway, I'll move on to something a little more interesting and less tedious; after all, sensory solutions only interest those readers who actually need it; I do want this blog to be of interest to everyone reading.

2 years ago, at the chronological time of this narrative, I got a cryptic, interesting message from a friend online. "I have something for you. Remind me next time I run into you to give it to you." I was intrigued and confused; this particular person is someone I run into once in a while at the local stores and wondered what she wanted.

Indeed, a few weeks later I ran into her, and she handed me a Flash Drive on a necklace. "Watch this," she said. "What is it?" I asked her, befuddled. She replied, "It's the Temple Grandin movie."

Temple Grandin. I had heard that name years earlier, when Agriprocessors was going through the crazy Federal raid. Temple was brought in as an expert to certify that the livestock were being treated humanely before being slaughtered. I don't think I knew at that time that Temple is considered autistic; I think I read about it at some point later. I do remember reading that a movie had been done about her life, and the actress portraying her had done an incredible job mimicking her voice, mannerisms, and actions.

It had never occurred to me to watch the movie. And here it was being handed to me on a silver platter. I couldn't contain my curiosity and watched it the very night I got it. Or maybe a night later. I don't know.

I was left speechless. And in tears.

For those of you who watch the occasional (or not so occasional) movie, this is a must-see. It's 100% kosher; it's something I would even watch with an older teen. Okay, maybe only 99.99% kosher. There are only two small occasions when there is a joke/incident with a subtle innuendo which will probably go over the head of most teens (and probably even adults...) I will spell it out for you later in the review so you can decide for yourself if this is something you want to rent, buy, or download/watch instantly on Amazon - I will provide the link in a minute.

I was extremely moved by Temple's tenacity and her mother's determination. Temple was autistic in a day and age where autism wasn't very common; there was absolutely no resources available. No special schools. Kids like that were deemed 'retarded' and locked away. Her mother didn't give up on her; she taught her and taught her and taught her. Temple ended up going to a regular school, and even college. She pioneered humane livestock handling and pre-slaughter techniques and later became an advocate for autism.

It's all incredible. I was crying throughout the film. I just watched the trailer again and cried all over again.

Some things in the film were so revealing to me, helping me understand Dovi's autism. When Temple put herself into the 'squeeze machine' because she desperately needed deep pressure, I understood what makes Dovi tick. Seeing her twirling round and round and round on the playground swing and being laughed at made me simply bawl. The biggest cry-moment for me, however, was at the end, when Temple is portrayed giving speeches at autism conferences.

You would think that such a film would give me high hopes for Dovi's future - but it didn't. Temple learned to speak at age four. She went to regular school, college, and went on to become an amazing person. Most children as low-functioning as Dovi is at this age, don't end up with such amazing lives. Temple is high-functioning and gifted; her chief issues are with social and sensory deficits. Dovi probably has speech apraxia too. His inability to speak and his stimming/hyperactivity are his biggest hindrances. Although he is a really bright boy, KE"H, I don't foresee him being the next Temple Grandin. I'll be thrilled if he's toilet trained and minimally verbal within the next few years; hoping for a second Temple Grandin breakthrough is hoping for a miracle.

But who says we can't hope?

If you're normally one who watches a clean movie, this is absolutely definitely for you. Even if you're not a movie-watcher but can watch an occasional informative youtube video, then this is for you too. It's touching, it's real, and very inspiring.

Now let me tell you the two small instances where I'm not that sure this is for a teen to watch if you're from a very sheltered world: 1) When Temple creates her squeeze machine, she is nearly expelled from school because the dean asked her if she felt a 'release' as a result of the machine. Temple innocently answered "yes", not understanding the Dean's suspicious line of questioning at all. So take that as you wish when you think of showing this to a teen - or your husband. 2) When Temple was an adult trying to make it in a male dominated industry, she was bullied by having a certain body part from the cows thrown against her windshield. I won't even mention it here on the blog because I know that some high school grads, (still teens), read the blog. So again, your judgment call on watching it with your husband or teenager.

Here is the link to buying the DVD from Amazon:

Here is the link to the Instant Video if you rather want to watch it on your screen and not get it in the mail as a DVD:

If you really, really don't want to spend the $15.00 to download it (of which I would get about 4-7% for the Dovi fund....), I did find the entire 1:48:00 film on youtube. I won't tell you where. Your call if you want to watch it the legit way and give me a % or you wanna watch the whole thing on youtube for free. I won't hold it against you.

Here's another freebie, to bookmark for later: Temple talking about autism. This is truly free and legit. And lengthy. And really interesting. And validates a lot of what we're doing for Dovi, although progress with him is extremely slow and frustrating at times.

If only every autistic child would grow up to be another Temple Grandin... life would be oh, so sweet.

Here is a link to Temple Grandin's books, if that interests anyone.

If you've watched the Temple Grandin movie, please leave a comment on your experience watching it. I'd love to hear from you.


  1. I watched the Temple Grandin movie, it really gives a great insight into autism. I feel that there is still so much we don't understand about autism and how to help them deal and integrate into the world around them. I would also recommend you read Carly's Voice if you haven't done so already.

    1. I actually haven't read the book as I have woefully little reading time.But thanks for the recommendation, maybe I will!

    2. Another movie you might be interested in is "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close". It's about an autistic boy whose father died on 9/11. It's rated PG-13 so it's definitely not appropriate for a very sheltered teen. That being said, it's really a pretty clean movie. The rating is mostly for the violence/gore aspect. Here is a link that describes the 'cleanliness/appropriateness' of the movie

      I personally haven't watched it (though I am going to try to get a hold of it now) but I have heard that it was very well done. It's also available as a book apparently.

  2. I heard temple speak and after she spoke Jim Watkins who is a reporter on tv , spoke. He said with all due respect to temple , this is not the life I am living . He then showed what his life is like, living with a child with severe autisim. You should google him and watch his short movie


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